Monkey see, monkey do...how many times did we hear that one growing up? We would chant it as kids when we saw someone acting the copy cat and doing something just because someone else had done it. Or, as parents, have the words of your parents ever sneaked into the room..."I don't care what your buddy is doing..."? They said that to you, and then a generation later, you said it to your kids because you or your kids were wanting to do something just because someone else was doing it. Or...oh, oh, oh...this is a good one..."Well, if Johnny jumped off of a bridge, would you?" Well, maybe. I've been known to, actually.
Very seldom did my parents tell me to do something because someone else was doing it. In fact, the opposite was usually true, just like it is for most kids. But every now and then doing something just because someone else had done it is a good idea. Even Jesus thought so. He even told a guy to go and do something just because someone else had.
It's one of those stories we've heard all of our lives if we grew up in the church. It's probably one of the "Top 10" in our Sunday School classes, and I even did a message on it in July. This cocky young lawyer was trying to trick Jesus by trying to find out exactly who this neighbor was that Jesus had told him he had to love...just like he loved himself. Then he told him a story about some guy that had been robbed, beaten, and left for dead on the Jericho Road. Then Jesus told him the one about the priest and the levite, only that joke wasn't funny. Then he told him about some guy that stopped to help this guy, took him to an inn, made arrangements for him to be cared for, and then went on his way. Then he asked which one was a neighbor to the guy and the lawyer told him that the neighbor was the one that stopped and helped. And then...Jesus said..."Go and do likewise."
"But Jesus, if this good Samaritan jumped off a bridge, would you?" Well, I guess it depends. If jumping off the bridge meant you landed in a ditch with someone who had been beaten up by the world and left for dead, then yeah, I think he would. Or if doing what this guy had done brought some tiny little amount of hope to someone who's castle was crumbling, then I'm pretty sure he would. Or, if following someone else's lead meant that someone, somewhere heard those words, "Then neither do I condemn you," then I know he would.
So kiddos, monkey see monkey do is not always a bad thing. Just stay away from bridges, cliffs, and haylofts.